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HIV positive children bear quarantine with fortitude in Odisha’s Gopalpur

The inmates are in the age group of 5 to 15 years. Photo: Special Arrangement

The inmates are in the age group of 5 to 15 years. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Since March, 52 children rendered vulnerable by lowered immunity have set an example in following protocol at district administration’s facility.

Demonstrating great patience and courage, 52 vulnerable HIV Positive children have remained completely cloistered a home in Odisha’s Gopalpur since March 12, when schools were closed. With their immunity lowered by HIV, they are extremely vulnerable to the danger of a COVID-19 infection.

“During the pandemic, reports of violations of institutional as well as home quarantine norms are coming from everywhere. The violators should learn from the example of these children,” said Lokanath Mishra, who has been involved with the home since its founding.

The home, managed by the Ganjam district administration, was set up in December 2007 to provide care for destitute and underprivileged HIV Positive children. The residents are in the age group of 5 to 15 years. Of them, 26 are girls. Seven of the children, who were visiting their relatives or parents at the time, were asked to stay back with them.

Extreme care

Staff at the home are also taking extreme care to avoid outside contact. They, along with the facility’s doctor and a part-time educator, are very careful with hygiene protocol as well.

Groceries and essentials are purchased over phone and left at the gate. Social distancing is practised. Rooms and halls are regularly sanitised. The children wash their hands at least eight times in a day. Local police are also helping.

Do the children get bored or anxious, having been away from their families for so long? “We try to keep them engaged throughout the day in different activities to make them forget their worries,” said Mr. Mishra.

Apart from classes and building awareness, time is given for games, art, crafts, yoga and meditation, with the day beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. The children and staff are also making cotton masks for themselves.

Akash Guru, superintendent at the home, said that eight members of staff, including himself, are trying to be family to the children.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 8:25:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hiv-positive-children-bear-quarantine-with-fortitude-in-odishas-gopalpur/article31956131.ece

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